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Aquarium’s newest IMAX film “Deep Sea 3D” awarded top honor at International Wildscreen Film Festival!

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (October 19, 2006) – The newest Tennessee Aquarium IMAX film, “Deep Sea 3D,” which gives visitors an unreal experience that feels so real when they face off with wolf eels, darting squid or hunt with hungry sand tiger sharks has recently been awarded the top honor at the International Wildscreen Film Festival in Bristol, UK.

“In order to complement the Tennessee Aquarium’s natural discovery and adventure, many excellent sea-themed IMAX 2D and 3D films have debuted at Aquarium’s IMAX Theater since we opened it in 1996,” said Charlie Arant, Aquarium CEO. “But when we previewed this particular film for our visitors, we knew we had something so spectacular, vivid and full of action, our visitors couldn’t resist it.”

“Deep Sea 3D” was awarded the top honor in the Large Format category at the Panda Awards, the world's most prestigious awards for films about the natural world. The event is part of the Wildscreen Festival in Bristol, UK.

Narrated by Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet, "Deep Sea 3D" transforms viewers into fearless undersea explorers from the first moment a wave washes over the audience and the camera dips below the surface of the water to reveal a vibrant world of coral-filled seas inhabited by myriads of strangely beautiful and oddly fierce creatures.

Visitors are captivated as a mantis shrimp attacks its prey with the force of a 22-caliber bullet and witness the rarely observed, once-a-year, nighttime spectacle of coral spawning in the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary.

“Deep Sea 3D” features nine different ocean locations from Hawaii to British Columbia and transports viewers to the exciting world of undersea life as the spectacular 3D effects allow moviegoers to feel as though they are actually swimming alongside some of the most awesome, dangerous and colorful creatures in our world’s watery wonderland.

“Deep Sea 3D” enables moviegoers to experience the underwater world in a way never before achieved through the 3D experience. Advanced technology and filming techniques allow viewers to feel as though they are actually swimming with these incredible creatures (except, of course without having to get wet).

The deep sea “stars” of the film may look very familiar to Aquarium-goers. The grunts, reef fish, sea stars, sea turtles, sand bar and sand tiger sharks, rays and eels in “Deep Sea 3D” also can be seen face-to-fin at the Aquarium. “Deep Sea 3D”comes to life as you witness these animals in their Aquarium environments – especially during October’s Thrills and Gills.

Sand Tiger Shark
With jagged, razor-like teeth and a body length of up to 10 feet, the sand tiger shark looks menacing. However, in “Deep Sea 3D”as well as in its home at the Tennessee Aquarium the sand tiger is one of the least aggressive sharks known to humans. It has extremely durable skin that allows it to hunt in reefs such as the Flower Garden Banks. This tough skin enables it to dig deep inside the extremely sharp edges of the coral without injury to itself. You can see four sand tiger sharks in the Secret Reef exhibit in the Aquarium’s Ocean Journey Building.

Giant Pacific Octopus
Octopi are invertebrates related to the squid and chambered nautilus. A giant Pacific octopus may weigh up to several hundred pounds and have an arm span of more than 30 feet. They eat crustaceans and mollusks. The giant Pacific octopus has the ability to change its color to blend with its surroundings. They use this camouflage to protect themselves from predators but they also may defend themselves by expelling a stream of ink while it jets off in the other direction. Octopi have three hearts that pump blue blood and these fantastic animals can be seen in “Deep Sea 3D” and in the Aquarium’s gallery, Boneless Beauties.

Green Sea Turtle
Although typically thought of to be a slow-moving creature the green sea turtle can swim at speeds up to 19 miles per hour! This animal breathes through its skin. They are able to tolerate very low levels of oxygen and can remain under water for up to three hours at a time. Unlike land turtles, the sea turtle cannot draw its legs and head into its shell but it does have very leathery skin to protect itself. A female may nest more than once per season and can lay up to 300 eggs in a single nest! Two sea turtles call the Aquarium home with a 250 pound male living in the Secret Reef exhibit and the other, a newly rehabilitated turtle, living in the Gulf of Mexico exhibit.

Corals are tiny animals and each individual is called a polyp. Coral gets its color from the microscopic algae, or zooxanthellae that live within the coral’s tissue. Coral reproduces itself by spawning. This occurs once a year in the Flower Garden Banks eight days after the full moon in August. The beauty of the Flower Garden Banks in the Gulf of Mexico featured in the film also can be experienced up close and personal at Ocean Journey where the same reef system has been duplicated in the Secret Reef exhibit. This reef system was duplicated using man-made materials because removing a living reef would be extremely damaging to the environment and would destroy this fragile ecosystem.


Downloadable images from this film:

IMAX film schedule:

Thrills & Gills:

The IMAX® 3D Theater is next door to the Aquarium. Ticket prices are $7.95 per adult and $5.50 per child. Aquarium/IMAX combo tickets are $22.95 for adults and $13.50 for children. Advance tickets may be purchased online at or by phone at 1-800-262-0695. The Aquarium, located on the banks of the Tennessee River in Chattanooga, is a non-profit organization. Open every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas, the Aquarium and IMAX are accessible to people with disabilities. Members enjoy unlimited visits and other benefits. Call 267-FISH to join.

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